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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Husband of disgraced former Lackawanna County guardian ad litem pleads guilty to tax fraud charge

By Jon Campisi | Dec 6, 2013

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The husband of a former Lackawanna County guardian ad litem who last month agreed to plead guilty to income tax fraud charges has himself admitted to his role in defrauding the federal government.

Walter J. Pietralczyk, Jr., 39, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a tax fraud misdemeanor before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Blewitt at the federal courthouse in Scranton, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

In November, Ross, his wife, pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted tax evasion for failing to report about $200,000 in income she received from parents with whom she worked in her capacity as guardian ad litem for the Lackawanna County Family Court.

As guardian ad litem, Ross was assigned to represent families in the county going through severe custody disputes.

As part of her independent contract with the court system, Ross was allowed to charge $50 per hour to families with which she worked, records show.

This was on top of her $38,000 county court salary.

In agreeing to plead guilty to the single count of attempted tax evasion, federal prosecutors dropped five other counts that had been contained in an indictment against Ross.

This week, Pietralczyk, who had been charged in a criminal information filed by the prosecutor’s office last month, pleaded guilty in connection with the case against his wife because the couple filed joint tax returns.

Pietralczyk faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The Internal Revenue Service estimates the tax loss to be somewhere between $30,000 and $80,000, according to the government.

The restitution amount will be imposed upon the couple at the time of their respective sentences.

Ross is scheduled to formally enter her guilty plea before U.S. Senior District Judge A. Richard Caputo in Scranton on Dec. 16, court records show.

The woman was fired from her position as Lackawanna County guardian ad litem earlier this year.

Authorities said that the only income Ross had reported for 2009 and 2010 was the compensation she reported on her 1099 IRS forms in connection with her independent contract with the county’s family court, and not the money she received from private paying parties.

The husband’s guilty plea relates to the 2009 tax return only, according to prosecutors.

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